The Kremlin confirmed on Tuesday that an oil-for-goods barter deal between Russia and Iran was being implemented and officials said the road was clear for Moscow to supply an advanced S-300 anti-missile system to Tehran.Oil and commodities traders contacted by Reuters were skeptical the barter deal was underway, saying they had not seen any volumes of Iranian oil or Russian grain connected to such a deal being shipped so far.
The latest statements from Moscow coincide with politically sensitive negotiations on a final accord between Iran and the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany on Tehran's disputed nuclear program.
In 2012, the SWIFT payments transfer system cut off Iranian banks that were the subject of EU sanctions over Iran's nuclear program - a step that shut down a major avenue through which Iran did business with the rest of the world.
Sazhin said the oil-for-goods swap was also an attempt by Russia to secure a foothold in Iran.My view:
Sources told Reuters more than a year ago that a barter worth up to $20 billion was being discussed and would involve Russia buying up to 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil a day.
In a US dollar dominated world, barter deals are hardly the norm. Perhaps they occur periodically between developing nations with limited currency reserves. This deal is out of the ordinary as two relatively developed nations are looking for a way to bypass SWIFT, the global transfer payment system due to sanctions on both Russian and Iran. While Iran bartering for grain seems reasonable, what does Russia, one of the world's great oil producers, want with Iranian oil?
Perhaps the answer is not that Russia wants more oil, but that it wants something else that can be swapped for oil with countries that are not intimidated by SWIFT threats?
Our best guess, considering recent history, is that Russia will exchange oil for gold with China or another BRICS country, perhaps India. There have been unconfirmed reports about oil for gold swaps before with India and Iran. Now Russian may be involved in the scheme.
Certainly Russia, like China, has been a major gold purchaser for several years. It is our view that this is part of a great currency reset that has yet to surface in the news. The next financial crisis would be a good time for this to come to light.